STARTUP PICNIC GEW 2014 - 22 November, at CSIR Sports & Recreation Club

STARTUP PICNIC GEW 2014 - 22 November, at CSIR Sports & Recreation Club

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STARTUP PICNIC GEW 2014 - 22 November, at CSIR Sports & Recreation Club

STARTUP PICNIC GEW 2014 - 22 November, at CSIR Sports & Recreation Club

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STARTUP PICNIC GEW 2014 - 22 November, at CSIR Sports & Recreation Club

STARTUP PICNIC GEW 2014 - 22 November, at CSIR Sports & Recreation Club

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Mentoring Your Kids for Entrepreneurship: Lessons from a Mother

Puseletso Modimogale

Entrepreneur, founder of W.E.Y and business mentor at The Hope Factory
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I grew up in a small town in Lesotho called Diphiring, Berea. I was one of the privileged kids whose father worked in the mines. Every Christmas we would get lot of hampers as part of my fathers’ bonus.

Having tea and bread in the morning, you were seen as rich. NotNot many kids in my village had that luxury.

I started selling tea and coffee in the village. I was going house to house selling a teaspoon of tea and coffee at a minimum fee. My sales skills and negotiation skills were developed. I was only 8 years old.

Kids from the village would ask me for tea but instead of giving them for free, I would hand them a tin of tea to sell on my behalf, and when they reach their targets, they would get a teaspoon of tea as a reward. Business started booming and everyone wanted to be an agent. The rest is history…..

When I saw the same spark in my kids, I had to embrace, nurture and encourage them to start their own business.

It all started a year and half ago when loom bands business was taking every school child by storm. They came home motivated to make some loom bands necklaces and bracelets to sell to their peers. I bought them stock and they produced beautiful jewellery to sell. Their father and I helped them sell some to our colleagues. Their products were selling out mostly and their excitement of making more became evident. The price for each piece ranged between R2-R5. On average they would make R300 per week..

It was time to go get more stock from their supplier – then we came across the beads shop, which I fell in love with. The idea was to make myself beaded necklaces – but I also bought few packs of different colours for them to try out.

To my surprise, Kemo (11yrs) and Lethabo (9yrs), started making more beaded jewellery My friends and colleagues started ordering. A business that was making loom bands and selling them for R2, became a beaded jewelry making company that sells the necklaces from a range of R100- R500 per piece. They started setting targets and putting their goals down. On average their business was turning between R5k to R10k per month for the first year.

Today the business has one employee, has a company name ( KL Jewelry), logo and, a Facebook page (KL Jewelry) and Twitter account @Jewelrykl which works as a catalogue and advertising platform to reach the market. Of course, needless to say, as their self-appointed marketing personnel and brand ambassador, I manage all their social media updates and engagements up until the company can afford hiring a sales and marketing person.

The lessons learned as the mother and their business Mentor:

  1. My ambitions should not supersede my kids talent.
  2. Keep them excited and loving what they do without neglecting their school work and play time.
  3. Growth and development takes time, skills cannot be microwaved but developed.
  4. Allow them to make mistakes and help them understand the lessons learned.
  5. Build their presentation skills, with their permission ask them to answers questions during radio and magazine interviews.
  6. Build their confidence by affirming them and allowing them to overcome fear of speaking in public.
  7. Do not push them when they are not ready.
  8. Teach them basic business skills such as banking their money, budgeting, saving, investing and giving.
  9. Build grid. Give them the responsibilities and ownership of projects. Do not solve their problems. Encourage them to look for solutions to overcome obstacles.
  10. Ask God for guidance and wisdom.

Encouraging my kids to be entrepreneurs at a young age has improved my parenting skills and it is teaching them responsibility at the young age. Lately, for their extra mural activities, clothes, hobbies and birthdays, they plan ahead and put a budget beforehand. Unlike before where there was a lot of nagging and tantrums to manipulate us to buy them whatever they demanded.

I had set the foundation for a life of entrepreneurship.  Future leaders must develop grid and resilience. Through entrepreneurship, character is build and the strong foundation is set. Remember this might be what they are interested in doing today and if they develop a new interest tomorrow, that’s ok too. The most important thing for them being in business besides making money is building skills which will sustain them in the future.

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